BOOK REVIEW: Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga | Science News

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BOOK REVIEW: Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain by Michael S. Gazzaniga

Review by Laura Sanders

By
11:14am, January 13, 2012

In his new book, Gazzaniga drags readers kicking and screaming to the brink of an existential meltdown, and then rescues them with a dramatic twist at the end.

Gazzaniga’s opening salvo: You are not the boss of your brain. The illusion of control is a sweet lie that people —including neuroscientists — tell themselves. Gazzaniga, a neuroscientist himself, describes loads of studies, including some of his own, showing that people aren’t always willful and purposeful agents in control. One of his best arguments: “Have you ever succeeded in telling your brain to shut up already and go to sleep?”

If natural laws and the ways of the brain can explain each and every behavior, it follows that free will is an illusion. But before you sprint out and buy a Porsche (“The universe made me do it!”), Gazzaniga calls out that very issue. Angsty

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